5 Mistakes You Must Avoid When Following Your Passion
In 2006, I had a vague feeling of unease.
I felt like something was missing, but I didn’t know what.
I was playing poker professionally and making a good living, but I yearned for more.
More fulfillment. More excitement. More purpose. More joy.
It’s been over half a decade since, and today I’m making a living doing what I love. I’m absolutely in love with the work I do and my life.
But the journey there was filled with stumbling into pitfalls and getting shoved back by walls.
That’s why this article is all about the mistakes I made during my path.
By writing this, I hope you can avoid them, although sometimes you can’t, because you need to make mistakes in order to move forward.
Let’s dive in.
1. The Perfection Trap
One of the first problems I ran into was trying to find the perfect passion.
I got so caught up in this that I made no progress at all. I wanted to make a living online, but I lacked focus.
I never focused on one thing for long enough to allow it to work.
Trying to find perfection paralyzed me.
But in 2009 something happened. I realized that if I wanted to make this work, I had to start where I was with what I had.
That’s when I decided to focus on building a small niche site online. I got in touch with someone who was already doing what I wanted to do, and I implemented what I learned.
As I took whatever steps I could take, my path began unfolding before my eyes. I realized that it is by taking one step at a time that I’ll get to the top of the mountain.
It is by starting where I am with what I can do that I’ll allow myself to move forward. If I try to climb the mountain in one leap, I’ll never even get started, because it’s too overwhelming.
I had to be willing to start where I was and let it lead me.
So when you’re pursuing your dreams, avoid making grandiose plans. You don’t have to find that one perfect passion. You just have to follow the passion clues in front of you.
Look at what you can do today, and then pick what excites or interests you. When you’re done with that, look around and take the next step that interests you.
2. Forcing Progress
When I realized I could get paid to do something I was interested in, I got lost in chasing money.
I wanted to make more money, and I wanted to make it fast. In other words, I began forcing progress. I ended up feeling frustrated, lost, and overwhelmed.
Whenever I force progress, it means I’m trying to do something I can’t do.
I used to work 12-hour days to try and make things happen. Today I work 2-3 hours per day and make more progress because I listen to my inspiration. I take action when I feel good.
I’ve become aware of the fact that things happen in their own time. I can enjoy the ride and let life unfold naturally.
Trying to be somewhere or accomplish something comes from me believing that if I could just get somewhere, I would be happier.
But the truth of the matter is that I can be happy now, and I can move from that place of happiness. I can take inspired action instead of needy action (trying to get something or do something to become happier).
And when I do, the action I take is many times more powerful.
So look at the options you have available to you right now, and then notice which one is the most interesting to you. Then do that.
Don’t try to force things. If you feel overwhelmed. Go lie down, relax, and when you feel better, ideas will pop up.
3. Thinking Ahead
I’m a master worrier.
I can conjure up horror movie-like scenarios in my head. In the past, I used to ponder what could go wrong, but as the years have passed, I’ve began leaning more towards pondering what can go right.
Because worrying doesn’t help. If anything, worrying makes what you worry about happen.
Imagine that you’re driving to the next town. You’re moving forward and everything is going well, but uh oh, suddenly you have a thought: What if I don’t make it?
What if the people in that town don’t like me?
What if I put in all this time for nothing?
So you stop the car and start thinking about your potentially grim fate. You stop moving, and eventually you decide that you’ll never get there, so you turn around and head home.
While this may sound ridiculous, this is what many do (myself included), then we wonder why nothing good ever happens.
The solution for me has not been to try and eliminate bad thoughts. I simply let them be, but I focus on what could go right.
I ask more productive questions and I guide my thoughts to places that feel good. And when I do, I get inspired, and good things happen.
4. Making Fear Your Enemy
On my journey to doing what I love, fear has kept popping up time and time again. But fear isn’t my enemy.
I’ve noticed that when I follow my passion, it highlights what no longer belongs. It shows me beliefs and fears that need to be let go of.
Most people believe they’re doing something wrong when irrational fears, anxieties and worries pop up, but the opposite is true.
When you follow your heart and go after your dreams, you will have to let go of your baggage so you can soar higher.
The way I deal with fear is to feel it fully. When I have a particularly bad day, I’ll lie down, and feel whatever is going on in my body. It is only through feeling what you feel that you can let it go.
So don’t let fear scare you. Take it as a sign that you’re on the right path. Feel your fear fully.
Notice what you’re thinking about as you feel the fear. It’s often something you don’t want. Flip it to something you do want and notice what happens.
5. Creating Rules
Last, but not least, when I was starting out, I would be so worried about failing that I’d take the advice of successful people and make them into rules.
I wanted to follow a formula that would guarantee my success. The more I did that, the worse my results were.
The key for me was to take what I learned, such as how to build a popular blog, and make it my own. I experimented with the advice and saw what worked and what didn’t.
I noticed what felt right, and I did what I could. I didn’t try to apply everything I learned.
And that’s really the key, you have to do what feels best for you, and you have to uncover your own answers.
Doing that has helped me build a 10,000+ subscriber blog and a passion business that supports me and my family.
The Bottom Line
When following your passion, you have to be willing to stop looking for permission. You have to start looking inside for the answers.
The more I’ve started doing this, the more I’ve noticed that I have everything I need to move forward. I have the inspiration and inner nudges that take me places.
You can always make excuses for why you can’t take action, but the truth is that you can always take the next step.
And the next step is all that’s needed.
You don’t have to figure out your life right now.
You don’t have to find the perfect passion.
You just have to take the next step.
You have to do what you can with what you have.
And if you have trouble finding your passion, or living a fulfilling life, you can check out my book, Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions, I’ll be in the comments below.
Photo by Caden Crawford
Latest posts by Henri Junttila (see all)
- 8 Mental Habits I Had to Quit to Live a Passionate Life - June 5, 2014
- 5 Mistakes You Must Avoid When Following Your Passion - October 1, 2013
- How to Fail at Turning Your Passion into an Online Business - January 20, 2013